Best Value Colleges in Arkansas

The Arkansas College ROI Report provides students and their families with essential information about which colleges in the state offer the best value for their educational dollar.  Read More

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1University of Arkansas - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$309,400
Total 4 Year Cost$83,600
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,760
2University of Arkansas - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$267,600
Total 4 Year Cost$125,400
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$25,760
3Arkansas State University (ASU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$167,300
Total 4 Year Cost$75,700
Grad Rate37%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,080
4Harding University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$162,200
Total 4 Year Cost$100,800
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,080
5Southern Arkansas University - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$160,800
Total 4 Year Cost$72,200
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,400
6University of Arkansas - Little Rock Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$159,000
Total 4 Year Cost$84,000
Grad Rate24%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$18,920
7Southern Arkansas University - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$148,900
Total 4 Year Cost$84,100
Grad Rate30%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$20,400
8Arkansas State University (ASU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$142,700
Total 4 Year Cost$100,300
Grad Rate37%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,080
9John Brown University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$129,600
Total 4 Year Cost$130,700
Grad Rate65%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,320
10University of Arkansas - Little Rock Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$121,600
Total 4 Year Cost$121,400
Grad Rate24%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$18,920
11University of Central Arkansas(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$116,600
Total 4 Year Cost$73,400
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,400
12University of Central Arkansas(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$94,700
Total 4 Year Cost$95,200
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$23,400
13University of Arkansas - Monticello Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$69,500
Total 4 Year Cost$62,500
Grad Rate28%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,640
14University of Arkansas - Monticello Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$48,400
Total 4 Year Cost$83,600
Grad Rate28%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,640

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Arkansas offers exciting opportunities for students who are interested in playing sports or enjoying the relaxed Midwestern lifestyle. The state's colleges boast vibrant student life and great academic programs. Many students are attracted to Arkansas because they enjoy the state's down-to-earth attitude, beautiful countryside and rich culture. No matter the reasons you want to attend college in Arkansas, consider checking PayScale's return-on-investment data to find the best value colleges in Arkansas before you send in applications.

Earning a degree in Arkansas is a financially sound decision. The state's most popular schools offer valuable educations and high ROIs over a 20-year period. Home of the Razorbacks, the University of Arkansas's main campus in Fayetteville offers the highest college return on investment Arkansas college students can get. Alumni of the university enjoy a 20-year ROI of $309,400. This figure is calculated using the full cost of tuition. Students who receive financial aid enjoy an even higher return of $339,800 over 20 years.

One reason why students from the University of Arkansas earn such a high return on their investment is because the school offers low student-to-teacher ratios. The U of A combines a students-first philosophy with rigorous academics to help students make the most of their opportunities. Most students graduate in four years from this public college.

Second place in the Arkansas College ROI Report rankings is Arkansas State University. Located in Joneseboro, ASU boasts a 20-year ROI of $167,300. Financial aid awarded to students pushes the ROI to $206,800. The Red Wolves of ASU play in the Sun Belt Conference and are a major competitor in regional football. Alumni of the school include athletes Al Joyner, Tyrell Johnson and Patrick Eddie.

Another of the best value colleges of Arkansas is Harding University, a private not-for-profit school located in Searcy. A Christian school, Harding boasts a 20-year ROI of $162,200 for students not receiving financial aid and $197,600 for students receiving financial aid. Harding is home to a variety of social clubs and honor societies that encourage student involvement. Duck Dynasty star Willie Roberston and his daughter-in-law Korie both attended Harding. Another private school, John Brown also offers a good return on investment. Students there who receive financial aid can expect a return of $192,700 over 20 years.

When it comes to college return on investment in Arkansas, though, the state's public colleges dominate. Southern Arkansas University alumni enjoy an ROI of $160,800 and a low overall cost of attendance. Students receiving financial aid do even better, bringing in an ROI of $198,900 over 20 years. Another top value selection among private schools is the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Students who attend this branch of the U of A can look forward to a 20-year return on investment of $159,000 even when paying the full cost of tuition. U of A's Monticello campus also ranks in the top 15 with an ROI of $48,400.

Students outside of the U of A system can also enjoy a decent ROI. The University of Central Arkansas in Conway is home to over 13,000 students. The school offers a return of $116,600. Alumni who received financial aid see a total ROI of $150,500. In terms of the value of college education Arkansas students enjoy, the state's public colleges and universities also offer high ROIs for out-of-state students, who generally pay higher tuition than resident students.